Atropine Sulfate (Ophthalmic)

Atropine Sulfate works by blocking the chemical acetylcholine which relaxes the ciliary muscle in the eye and allows the pupil to dilate.


Atropine Sulfate is a prescription eye drop used to prepare for eye exams by dilating the eyes. It's also used to treat eye conditions. Atropine Sulfate treats eye conditions like amblyopia or lazy eyes and cycloplegia. This eye drop works by blocking a chemical called acetylcholine. This, in turn, relaxes the ciliary muscle and causes the pupil to dilate. This medicine can be taken as an eyedrop or an ointment. This prescription eyedrop has several brand names. They are Atropine-Care, Isopto Atropine, Ocu-Tropine.

Conditions Treated

  • Amblyopia (lazy eyes)
  • Cycloplegia
  • Uveitis
  • Iritis (Anterior Uveitis)
  • Refraction
  • Pupillary Dilation

Type of Medicine

  • Anticholinergics

Side Effects

Although Atropine Sulfate is beneficial in treating some eye conditions and is also helpful in preparing for eye exams (refraction), it is possible to have adverse effects as a result of using this medication. However, should you experience any side effects, contact your physician right away. Some side effects may be minor, requiring no medical attention, while others may be more severe. The severe side effects should be addressed by a physician right away. A doctor may suggest ways to offset the side effects. Common side effects include blurred vision, changes in color, difficulty seeing at night, pain, and stinging. You may even experience a fast or irregular heartbeat, an increased pulse, and a sensitivity to sunlight.

More serious side effects may occur as a result of using Atropine Sulfate. They include mental confusion, dry eyes, drowsiness, dry skin, mouth, and throat, hallucinations, irritability, bloodshot eyes, warmth, a flushed appearance ion the face and neck, nervousness, excitement, irrational behavior, and restlessness. It is possible to experience side effects that aren't listed. However, contact your physician for more details. Of all the noted side effects, there are a few that are more common. They include blurred vision, photophobia, eye pain and stinging, and decreased lacrimation. These effects tend to be more prevalent in infants and the elderly.

Typical side effects for the use of Atropine Sulfate in an ointment form are similar to those experienced when using the eye drops, they include eye pain, stinging, blurred vision, photophobia, decreased lacrimation, Superficial keratitis (frequency not reported), conjunctivitis, hyperemia, and edema. In severe cases, the use of the ointment has resulted in respiratory distress in the form of hypotension with progressive respiratory depression. Coma and death have been reported in children as well.


The amount of medicine you take and the frequency are determined by the doctor, based on your illness and the strength of the medication. Wash your hands and pull the lower eyelid down to administer a drop. For children, administer the drop and stay with them to ensure the medicine gets in the eye. Keep your eyes closed for a minute or two to ensure that the medicine is absorbed. Place the top on the medication and wash your hands. Keep the tip of the eyedrops from coming into contact with anything. Wipe the tip with a clean piece of tissue and tightly close the top. However, don't rinse the dropper, simply replace the top to the dropper after each use. It's also good practice to pay attention to the way the solution looks. Don't use the eye drops if they have changed color, become cloudy, or contain particles. Your doctor may require you to administer the eyedrops several times a day at specific intervals of time. If you miss a dose, take one as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time that you usually take your dose, wait, and take your regularly scheduled dose. Do not double dose. It should also be noted that contact lens wearers should remove their lenses before administering the drops and also wait an additional 15 minutes after administering the drops before wearing them.

If you are using Atropine Sulfate as an ointment it will come in a 1, 2, or 3 percent concentration strength. Your doctor will determine which strength is the most appropriate to treat your condition. The duration you should take the medication and the number of times it must be taken daily will also be determined by your physician. Wash your hands and administer the ointment by applying a small amount into the conjunctival sac as prescribed. You can gently apply pressure to the lacrimal sac on the eye for one minute to ensure that the medicine has been absorbed.


It is possible for certain drugs to have adverse effects when taken together. Some can still be taken together, given adjustments are made to the dosage to offset adverse reactions, however, some should never be taken together. This is one reason why it's extremely important to keep your physician informed of any medications you are taking in conjunction with Atropine Sulfate. It should be noted, however, that Atropine Sulfate can produce adverse reactions when used in conjunction with many of the medications listed below. Although other medications may interact negatively with Atropine Sulfate adjustments can be made to offset or diminish any negative interactions. Changes in dosages may be made to one or both medications to offset negative interactions.

  • AccuHist Drops (chlorpheniramine / phenylephrine)
  • AccuHist LA (atropine / chlorpheniramine / hyoscyamine / phenylephrine / scopolamine)
  • AccuHist PDX Syrup (brompheniramine / dextromethorphan / .guaifenesin / phenylephrine)
  • acetaminophen / caffeine / chlorpheniramine / hydrocodone / .phenylephrine
  • acetaminophen / caffeine / guaifenesin / phenylephrine
  • acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / codeine / phenylephrine
  • acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan / guaifenesin / phenylephrine
  • acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan / .phenylephrine
  • acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / phenylephrine
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus & Cold Hot Drink Mix (acetaminophen / .chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Congestion & Cough (Day Formula) .(acetaminophen / dextromethorphan / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Congestion & Cough (Night Formula) .. (acetaminophen / dextromethorphan / doxylamine / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Congestion & Cough Liquid Gels .(acetaminophen / dextromethorphan / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Congestion, Allergy & Cough Liquid Gels (acetaminophen / dextromethorphan / doxylamine / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus, Cold & Cough Liquid Gels (acetaminophen / dextromethorphan / guaifenesin / phenylephrine)
  • Allan Tannate Pediatric (chlorpheniramine / phenylephrine)
  • Allanhist PDX Syrup (brompheniramine / dextromethorphan / .guaifenesin / phenylephrine)
  • Allergy Pain Relief (acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / .phenylephrine)
  • Allergy Sinus PE Pain Relief (acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / .phenylephrine)
  • AllerTan (chlorpheniramine / phenylephrine / pyrilamine)
  • AlleRx (chlorpheniramine / phenylephrine)
  • AlleRx Dose Pack (chlorpheniramine / methscopolamine / .phenylephrine / pseudoephedrine)
  • AlleRx Dose Pack (PM Dose) (chlorpheniramine / methscopolamine / .phenylephrine)
  • AlleRx Dose Pack PE (AM Dose) (methscopolamine / phenylephrine)
  • AlleRx Dose Pack PE (PM Dose) (chlorpheniramine / methscopolamine / phenylephrine)
  • Altex Liquid (guaifenesin / phenylephrine / phenylpropanolamine)
  • Ambi 40 / 1000 (guaifenesin / phenylephrine)
  • Ambi 40 / 1000 / 60 (dextromethorphan / guaifenesin / .phenylephrine)
  • Ambi 5 / 15 / 100 (guaifenesin / hydrocodone / phenylephrine)
  • Ami-Tex (guaifenesin / phenylephrine / phenylpropanolamine)
  • Alenaze-D (brompheniramine / phenylephrine)
  • Alenaze-D NR (brompheniramine / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold (acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / .phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Formula Liquid (acetaminophen / .chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Formula Liquid Gels (acetaminophen / .chlorpheniramine / dextromethorphan / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Flu (acetaminophen / chlorpheniramine / .phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus (acetaminophen / phenylephrine)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Formula Cherry Burst Effervescent Tablets .(aspirin / chlorpheniramine / phenylephrine)
  • Bupropion
  • Donepezil
  • Oxymorphone
  • Tiotropium
  • Arbutamine

You should also be mindful of your diet and alcohol consumption because these are factors that can have an impact on the effectiveness of your medication and may cause interactions as well. Discuss your diet, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption with your doctor.


Other medical conditions can become worse while using this medication. Alert your doctor to any medical conditions you may have so that he or she can make adjustments to medications or avoid certain drugs. Certain medical conditions may become worse as a result of using this medication with another underlying medical condition and produce extreme results. Tell your doctor if you have any of the medical conditions below:

The use of this medication may produce a wide variety of negative reactions. Pay attention to the way you feel and any side effects you may be having and see a doctor if they worsen. You may experience side effects that aren't listed. If you notice any of the below, notify your doctor:

  • Blurred vision
  • Change in color vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Eye pain or stinging
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • Increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
  • Confusion as to time, place, or person
  • Decreased tearing of the eyes
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry skin, mouth, or throat
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Redness of the clear part of the eye
  • Redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • Unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness


Atropine Sulfate should be stored in a safe place out of reach of children. It should be stored at room temperature with the lid tightly closed, away from heat, light, and moisture. Dispose of any expired, leftover, or unneeded medicine properly. It's also a good idea to inspect the condition of your medicine and dispose of any medicine that appears contaminated. Keep in mind that the medication may be refrigerated but not frozen.


Atropine Sulfate is a prescription eyedrop or ointment used to treat eye conditions and prepare the eyes for an exam. This drug blocks the chemical acetylcholine which is responsible for relaxing the ciliary muscle in the eye. Once this muscle is relaxed, the pupil dilates. Thi is helpful in treating lazy eye, by calming the muscles. It helps prepare the eyes for an exam by causing the pupils to dilate. Generally, there are few side effects however, it is possible to experience burning, stinging, and itching in the eyes as a result of using this medication. Your doctor should be informed of any allergies you have to prevent any adverse reactions to the medication. This medication uses an ophthalmic route and can be applied by using eyedrops or an ointment.

Although most people tolerate this medication well, infants under 3 months don't. As a result, the medication is not recommended for infants under 3 months old. Geriatric patients should be able to to use this medication with no problem. However, this medication is not recommended for breastfeeding women or pregnant women, due to the lack of knowledge regarding the effects of this drug. This medication does have certain drugs that when combined, create adverse effects. It is recommended that some be avoided. When the medications must be used at the same time, the doctor generally makes adjustments to the dosages. This offsets adverse reactions and makes it possible to take both medications with little or no negative effects. In addition to other drugs, diet, exercise, and the consumption of alcohol can play a role in the efficacy of Atropine Sulfate. Other underlying medical conditions may become worse as a result of using Atropine Sulfate. Pay attention to any signs and symptoms and contact your doctor if need be.

Last Reviewed:
December 24, 2017
Last Updated:
April 26, 2018